Disciples News Service

New Mexico ‘peace village’ camp focuses children on civility

By Rev. Matt Every
During the last week of July, Peace Village Ruidoso, a camp designed to encourage children and youth to walk paths of non-violence, descends on the High Mesa Healing Center in Alto, NM. Peace Village Ruidoso, an affiliate of Peace Village, Inc., has been a ministry of First Christian Church Ruidoso since 2011.

Founded by FCC member and elder Barbara Mader, who also owns High Mesa Healing Center, Peace Village has spent the last 13 years teaching the young people of Lincoln County about the world around them and about loving others as they love themselves.

The camp exposes the children to a wide range of ideas and issues focused on non-violent conflict resolution, environmental awareness, media literacy and nature. Campers participate in yoga and Qi Gong classes, sing songs and learn dances, have arts and crafts and share ideas about healthy living.

The content is taught by a team of dedicated volunteers, from FCC Ruidoso and the surrounding communities, that include retired and current educators. Groups are led by teens, who provide positive role models for the campers. Many of the leaders have attended Peace Village and demonstrate to the campers what they have learned.

An important part of Peace Village is “Rites of Passage”, a coming of age experience for 12- and 13-year-olds led by FCC’s Pastor Matt Every.

Each year the team selects a theme. This year’s theme was “civility”, given the tenor of the 2016 Presidential Campaign.
The camp is funded by donations from individuals and organizations in the Lincoln County community. A majority of the campers attend on scholarships. No children are turned away from Peace Village.


3 Responses to “New Mexico ‘peace village’ camp focuses children on civility”

  1. Kenneth James:

    What does the Rite of Passage at the Peace Village entail?
    Is the Peace Village camp open to Youth outside of the area (New Mexico )?

    • Cherilyn Williams:

      Mr. James – I have forwarded your inquiry to Pastor Every and asked him to answer here on the page so others can also see details. Thanks for reading Disciples News Service!

    • Mr. James – The rites of passage for each year are a little different as we develop them as we discuss what our theme for the year will be. In 2016 we had our male and female students share a meal together (we had pizza with veggies to show how we could still eat our favorite food with a healthier twist), then separated and held discussions with each group. The guys discussed how we might be able to confront the culture of sexism and violence toward women that is prevalent, especially among student athletes. I know the ladies discussed issues regarding the changes in their bodies, although I wasn’t there for the conversation. Afterward we joined together again and I led the group on a “Privilege Walk” and we discussed how our privilege affects how we see and understand the world.

      All children are welcome regardless of where they live. We have had kids from Texas, Oregon, California the last two years (the only years I have been associated with the event), If you would like more information you can email me at pastormatt@fccruidoso.com.